Nigel Morton, vegan powerlifter
Lifting big and aiming even bigger
Nigel is a powerlifter whose enthusiasm for his sport has led him to train others as well as committing to a dedicated training plan which has earned him success.
This came across in the 2017 Canadian Nationals when the 126 kg lifter squatted an enormous 300 kg, benched 195 kg and finished off with a deadlift of 290 kg. The total of 785 kg is over six times his bodyweight and shows that he’s on the way to being a world class lifter.
“I take my own training very seriously and am always focused on achieving my long-term goals” says Nigel - although he does highlight other successes. “My favourite sporting moments are watching clients and friends hit PRs though. Watching others compete is truly enjoyable for me.”
Also keen to break outdated stereotypes about veganism, Nigel is a lifter who was raised vegetarian and has never been a meat eater.
“I was raised vegetarian from birth and tried going vegan in high school. That lasted a month or two, and in 2010 I made the switch permanently as I became more and more aware of the realities of meat, egg, and dairy production and felt that I could no longer justify consuming any animal product, regardless of taste or convenience.”
“At first it was strange for the people I train around just because of the preconceptions they had, as most people do, about vegans being skinny and weak. I think I’ve shown them that that is not always the case. In the end I think it’s performance. I have gotten stronger consistently for several years.
“In powerlifting numbers talk, and if yours keep going up you are doing something right. Now, it is barely brought up with my lifting partners.”
Clearly gaining weight and strength has been no issue, and Nigel has no difficulties gaining the carbohydrates and protein essential to powerlifters.
Fuel for the lifts
“I eat a lot of foods that people who aren’t vegan eat. I eat a lot of pasta, rice, bread and sandwiches. I also eat a lot of tofu and mock meats. My goal is and has been to gain weight (mostly muscle of course) in order to lift more weight. So far I have been fairly successful."
As a coach as well as a successful powerlifter, Nigel is aware of what he needs to do in training, and focusses on the main lifts, with accessory work to support them.
“Training consists of squatting, benching, deadlifting, and overhead pressing, along with variations of those lifts and some other accessory lifts (like dumbbell or cable work)” he says. “I use pretty simple periodisation in the 60-80% range for my offseason work (which makes up about 85% of my year) and focus on technique and volume.”
Despite having achieved great things, Nigel is far from finished as a competitor “I don’t like throwing out numbers or predictions” he tells us, “although I expect a large total from myself before I stop competing.”
“I also plan to continue coaching people interested in powerlifting and getting stronger as I have been doing for the past five years. Working with clients is a great way for me to keep myself grounded in the basics of training, and to keep in touch with the excitement newer lifters feel.”
Veganism is a large part of this.
“If there is one thing I can accomplish outside of lifting, I would like to show that being vegan does not have to be a limiting factor for your aspirations in strength sports or any sport, especially since I have never eaten meat as a part of my diet. I have always been vegetarian or vegan.
"There are people out there who truly worry that if they go vegan they won’t be able to get stronger or build muscle, and I want to be able to prove that untrue. That will require a lot more work on my part but would be a great feeling in the future."
2017 Canadian nationals results (Nigel is at the bottom of p1)